|U.S. funds finally headed to Haiti, 10 months after earthquake|
Photo: The Associated Press
The 60 Minutes piece was peppered with outright lies and was titled, "Haiti: Frustration and Anger."
The piece does not bother to tackle any tough questions. Here are a couple of questions for 60 Minutes:
- Why hasn't Haiti had cholera in almost 60 years?
This is a surprising fact, in light of the fact that the Bush administration, for political reasons had the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) withhold loans targeted for water infrastructure improvements in the very area where the cholera outbreak started and is spreading from rapidly.
- A corollary to that question: Why did the IDB make the Aristide government pay interest on loans his government never received?
*The political reason the U.S. withheld loans: To oust the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- Why does the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) think the cholera is a strain imported from South Asia?
- Why does a Harvard cholera expert, John Mekalanos, think that is is important to know the origin of the cholera strain. Mekalanos says the virulent strain is imported from South Asia.
"John Mekalanos, a cholera expert and chairman of Harvard University's microbiology department, said it is important to know exactly where and how the disease emerged because it is a novel, virulent strain previously unknown in the Western Hemisphere - and public health officials need to know how it spreads."
- 60 Minutes, how did the trash you filmed in the city cause the cholera in the countryside?
- Why didn't 60 Minutes use Google to learn that Bill and Hillary Clinton actually spent their honeymoon in Mexico -- Acapulco, not Haiti. The Clintons had returned from their honeymoon, and visited Haiti a week later. Bill Clinton says so on page 235 of his memoir "My Life."
- Why didn't 60 Minutes ask Mr. Clinton why his wife is blocking aid money to Haiti? She said back in March that Haiti was no more corrupt than any other developing country. Secretary Clinton also stated that she "sent a lot of experts from government agencies here in the U.S." to "work closely" with the Preval government prior to the January quake.
- What's changed since to make the U.S. government put a hold on the aid it pledged in March? Don't they care that most of the victims of the January earthquake are living in intolerable misery?
"As if Haitians living in tents and under scraps of plastic don't have enough to grapple with as a tropical storm bears down and cholera spreads, the U.S. Congress has put up another obstacle to delivering the $1.15 billion in reconstruction money it promised back in March.
The State Department still has to prove the money won't be stolen or misused — not an easy task in a country notorious for corruption.
"Given the weak governmental institutions that existed in Haiti even before the earthquake, Congress wants to be sure we have that accountability in place before these funds are obligated," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told The Associated Press."
The cholera epidemic, UN military occupation and U.S. controlled Haitian government are crippling Haiti's ability to recover from consecutive disasters.
There's a reason why the Haitian government must tread lightly in declaring the cholera epidemic an imported disease (Dr. Alex Larsen, Head of the Haitian Ministry of Health announced that the disease is imported, but did not name the UN's Nepalese base specifically as the source of the contamination).
|Ward at St. Nicholas Hospital|
Photo: Georgianne Nienaber
The majority of the Haitian Parliament is made up of officials who were part of the U.S. installed puppet government of (U.S. citizen from Boca Raton, Florida) Gerard LaTortue. Wyclef Jean's uncle Raymond Joseph was one such Haitian official fronting for Bush in Haiti. Preval did not make any changes to the parliament's makeup when he assumed the Haitian presidency.
The Haitian diaspora and Haitians suffering in the camps are fed up with the Preval government and they want change. They blame the Haitian government's "incompetence" and "lack of compassion" for the desperate situation on the ground. However, Haitians should be aware, as outlined above, that the weak Haitian government in place now wasn't chosen to represent Haitians. It was chosen to represent the interests of the international community. A weak Haitian government suits the corporatist agenda just fine.
The Haitian government is just a pawn used to break the will of the Haitian people. The Haitian population has demonstrated for and died in great numbers since the first U.S. sponsored coup in 1991 to support of a real democracy in Haiti. Democracies in developing countries is anathema to the neoliberal agenda of the corporatist elite that run the G-20 major economies of the world.
The Obama administration's Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is of two minds about the "corruption" in Haiti. Sometimes she thinks that it doesn't represent a substantial obstacle ("We see that all over the world. It is not, by any means, unique to Haiti. I have seen it in every setting and on every continent that I have visited."), other times her State Department is so concerned about the aid money being "stolen" and "misused" that they must put a hold on it.
Truth be told, the State Department is not very concerned about Haitians and their plight. What really matters is whether the U.S. will get the bang for the bucks that they and their allies, particularly France and Canada, have invested in the November 28 "selections" in Haiti. The U.S. alone has 10 million in the pot.
Finally, after over ten months of waiting for aid money, the government of Haiti, to its credit has sought aid from Europe. It's a long shot since Secretary Clinton has in no uncertain terms asked U.S. allies to withhold funds from Haiti.
"The Secretary of State told the U.N. conference in March that if the effort to rebuild was "slow or insufficient, if it is marked by conflict, lack of coordination or lack of transparency, then the challenges that have plagued Haiti for years could erupt with regional and global consequences."Nearly all the countries present at that conference have been slow in delivering on their promises since."
In a recent development, AP's Jonathan Katz reports that more than ten months after the quake, the U.S. State Department has finally released $120 million in aid for rubble removal, housing, education and Haitian government budget support.
Haitians are too quick to hand the U.S., France, Canada and their allies more ammunition to continue to keep Haiti subservient by joining in on the chorus that blames the Haitian government alone for the worsening catastrophe in Haiti.
It was the international community and their proxy, the UN which brought this cholera plague to Haiti. It was the U.S. which left Haiti vulnerable by pressuring the IDB to withhold loans that were targeted for improving the water infrastructure in Haiti. They worked with the morally bankrupt private sector run by Haiti's mafia families and renegade military to oust the democratically elected government of Aristide, twice! It was they, who forced neoliberal policies down Haiti's throat which has continuously kept Haiti in debt and dependency and lead to Haiti's inability to feed its people and the loss of over 300,000 jobs for subsistence farmers... forcing many of them to immigrate to the crowded capital of Port-au-Prince where they perished in the devastating earthquake.
Haiti is unofficially a "protectorate," of the U.S. and the "NGO nation" the U.S. has created since the orchestration of two coups that ousted Haiti's democratically elected government. The Haitian government has very little authority. Most social services are provided by the Non-governmental agencies (NGO), who grow more and more arrogant and dismissive of the Haitian government every day.
If Haiti's government was stronger (and had more support from Haitians), maybe they would be empowered to hold free and fair elections where every party is allowed to participate, including the majority party, Lavalas. This could be a way to keep Haiti from being made an official "protectorate" of the U.S. Of course, that is not the only way.
Haiti's government cannot continue to be weakened... supporting the government could be a way to force the UN to get out of Haiti at the end of their current "mandate." It was a certainty on October 15 this year that the U.S. run Security Council would renew the occupation.
We cannot continue to give the U.S. the excuse it seeks to make Haiti a protectorate.
If and when that (officially) happens, the U.S. (and their allies) will probably release all the aid funds they've been withholding. The bad guys would have won because they will have broken the will of a population which seeks to be free. Haitians want a real democracy. They do not want the current system where a tiny minority of greedy families own 80% of the country's wealth and resources, refusing to allow the population to have a chance to have a dream for equality, justice and a chance for advancement in a free society, where one man, one vote makes for a real democracy. It is corrupt, inhumane and evil U.S. foreign policy which is keeping that dream deferred for all Haitians.
The plan for Haiti (as often vocalized by ex-president Bill Clinton, head of the IHRC and his wife Secretary of State Hillary Clinton) is to continue on the path of making Haiti into a heaven for corporations who will supply low-wage sweatshop menial jobs that offer no chance for workers to build a future, and to make Haiti an island "vacation paradise."
What about Haitians? Where is their paradise? This is their country. Haitians want more for their children. They want more for their country.
The Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC) is unconstitutional. The Haitian parliament should not have subverted the will of the Haitian people by approving its formation. The makeup of the Commission is illegal, because foreigners cannot govern in Haiti.
In the final analysis, the real sin of Haiti was that they were the first ever successful slave rebellion. They established the first free country in this hemisphere. Haitians conquered the white supremacists and are this hemisphere's first black republic.
Will Haitians ever stop paying for being the victors over the white supremacists?